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Dementia Patient Died with Dead Rat in his Mouth


A 90-year-old dementia patient was found last month alone in his Mission Viejo care facility room with a dead rat lodged in his mouth, according to an article published in The Orange County Register Friday.

Attorneys for plaintiff Sigmund Bock filed the lawsuit Thursday in Orange County Superior Court against Paragon Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care facility for the elderly. The suit also alleged that the facility’s staff ignored Bock’s needs by allowing a rat infestation and then failed to supervise the mentally incapacitated patient.

“The defendants so literally ignored the needs of their residents, and most specifically Sigmund Bock, as to allow vermin in the form of a rat to become lodged in the mouth of Sigmund Block and die therein,'” the lawsuit read.

Nobody at Paragon was available for comment Thursday afternoon. An attorney for Paragon did not respond to a request for comment, the article said.

The lawsuit comes after a series of legal troubles for the facility, operated by the privately owned Sunwest Management Inc. based in Oregon. Last year, the state Department of Social Services sued to revoke the Mission Viejo facility’s license, alleging that six clients were injured and one died after improper care at the home. The company appealed and a meeting is scheduled later this month to set a hearing date.

In January, Bock’s attorney filed a class action lawsuit against Sunwest, saying the company provided substandard care that failed to comply with state law. The same attorney also sued Paragon after a 71-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, walked off the facility last year and never was found.

This is probably the most revolting and appalling report I’ve ever read! Can it really be true, a dead rat was lodged in his mouth? With the disgusting and negligent treatment I have experienced in nursing homes, this one is a new low.

Why hasn’t this facility’s license been revoked already? What are the enforcing agencies waiting for – another death? Maybe one of the reasons nursing homes get away with poor care is because they know the enforcing agencies are weak.

It is beyond me how nursing homes and care facilities that look after people who are at their most vulnerable state in life would let things slip in such a way. Often these places are understaffed and if they have staff, they are not properly trained. Hankering after profit has reduced these people to inconsiderate human beings. And that’s the sad truth.

If you would like to file a complaint against a care facility that is clearly in violation of the law, contact the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform at 1-800-474-1116 (Consumers only) or (415) 974-5171. For more information, visit

If you need to talk to a California Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer about taking legal action against a negligent care provider, call me, John Bisnar, 800-259-6373.

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